Category Archives: nature

bee inspired

DSC_0674I know summer is near and that I am sitting in the middle of spring…full blown wonderful spring. I know because the beekeepers are here. I watched them through the green branches of the magnolias,  in bee suits and moving supers that will, by mid-summer, be filled with honey from my little place in this world. It is all so comforting and wonderful, watching man within Nature and knowing, somehow, no matter what else is happening, Nature goes on. The bees will collect nectar and the beekeepers, myself include I am happy happy to say, will extract honey when the summer has distended into fall and the cycle continues.

 bees leavingI was in one of my hives this morning before it was too hot but after most of the worker bees had left for the day. My intention was to add a super before the May flow and just do a general look at the colonies. While looking in wonder, I noticed a particular worker bee amongst the thousands of other bees. This little bee had, I believe intentionally, attached herself to a dead bee and was working so hard and diligently to remove the dead bee from the hive – bees love to clean and they keep the hive very tidy. I suppose it was so difficult, being the same size as the dead bee and it being “dead weight” but I watched her stumble and literally fall but she never gave up. Eventually, she reached the edge of the super and made a dive with the dead bee towards the ground. Perhaps it was an unintended fall; I do not know. She disappeared from my sight but left me with some form of determination somehow, determination to overcome the anxiety or fear of a big job and know that if I stick to it, I can do it. Silly little story but I felt inspired by this tiny creature; she continues my belief that Nature holds all of the truths.

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a walk and a wish

A walk through the yard…my pictograph of early spring. I just wanted to post snapshots of the beauty of nature in March…not much to say really, just a visual nudge to go outside and find the beauty in your yard.

My yard and my photographs are both very rudimentary. I might like the look of beautiful well manicured spaces but I know I am not that person…so I embrace the “natural” look. 🙂 I hope you find some inspiration…

keep flowers

 

I cut the grass but left this large patch of wildflowers for the bees. There was no way I could mow over this. I know these early spring flowers are here for a very big purpose, if nothing less than their beauty, and everyone mows them down??? I think we need our wildflowers, flowers that used to be in fields everywhere but those fields are being filled with concrete  now. Anyway, I kept mine.

 

viola2

 

Near the house are more wildflowers and a scattering of violas I  planted this fall.This should be a painting.

 

tree in tree

 

Here is a beautiful example of the “tree in a tree” occurrence I wrote about a while back. There was a little oak tree that was growing along side of my fig tree and was so persistent. Either the wind blew the seed there or a bird dropped it right next to my planted by me tree, either way, it was unwelcome. Although I kept cutting the little annoying sapling down, it kept coming back.  For a few years, I was a warrior, man against Nature, but then I realized, Nature should do as she pleased and I gave up the futile fight. As you can see, She was very right…I have several more of these natural plantings going on right now in my yard.

 

st joe

 

A scattering of St. Josephs. It seems early, but then, we had very little winter. These flowers are from Miss Sue’s yard, a yard that began along the Bayou Teche over 100 years ago. Miss Sue is the sole reason I love the garden, that is where we became friends. I also associate these flowers with the St. Joseph Altars from my sons’ past; their school, Catholic High School, used to celebrate this feast day

 

 

bee fb

 

Into the bee yard…can you see all of the stirring and activity? So much nectar to gather and honey to make…hence, the wildflowers. It’s a busy time for the bees.

 

 

new bee

Here is my new hive. The new queen is in the bottom box and , hopefully, she will gather her worker bees and start a colony.

 

little chick

Can you see one of the baby chicks? Drew made this coop for me and I drove to Erath to buy baby chicks to fill it up with. This batch of chickens will start laying at the end of summer. I have Black Sex Links, Ameraucanas, White Leghorns, Barred Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds.

 

rooster

And my rooster…he rules. I have several rooster sticks around the yard to protect myself from him. I respect who he is; he would give his life for his flock, but he sees me as a threat, which  is so wrong…I am his ally. Anyway, he’s a mean dude when it comes to protecting his hens and I have been the recipient of his wrath a couple of times.

 

apple

Here is the field of wildflowers. I realize it will be tough on the lawnmower when I have to cut this but I have decided it is best to leave these flowers for the bees and birds and all that matters. The shovel is where an Anna Apple Tree will be planted today – amongst the Pear Trees.

 

pecan

Here are the buds on a pecan tree telling all of us in South Louisiana that Spring is officially here; this is the tried and true method here and it is always right.

 

crawfish hole

 

Do you know what this is?

 

bluebird

 

My Bluebird House…there was a scattering of vibrant blue feathers on the ground beneath this house…Nature can be cruel.

 

wish

I end with a Dandelion…and a wish that you find happiness in your own backyard.

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too early

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I just saw the first robin of “spring”…they are coming out of the woods now because the earth is warm enough for the earthworms to ascend…we have had very little winter in the Deep South. Anyway, just posting this event with a bit of sadness and much confusion; the little robin actually seemed a bit confused and bewildered as he or she suddenly scouted the yard on this late February day. My sadness comes from the lack of contrast of the seasons; I want to feel all of them so that the next one is defined and delicious.

My friend, Kathleen Hayek, lives in New York and I remember her telling me how wonderful spring was in NYC, everyone was so happy to leave the winter behind and were able to appreciate the gifts of spring – the difference, the contrast is what makes each season so glorious. Anyway, that did not happen here this year. My citrus trees have fruit and blossoms on them at the same time, my plum trees have already flowered and there’s a baffled robin in my yard looking for earthworms…p s

ornages

 

 

wake up

 

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morning glory

 

 

 

I wake up each morning with a quick slide show in my head of what will be, most times, these things I imagine never happen. I always intend to do more than I actually do. This morning, however, I did something I have wanted to do for a very long time – greet the day, formally. I was outside by 6:30 watching the world wake up. I noticed how quiet my hens were, still perched and full and the two new kittens were stretching and curious when I appeared from the back door, as though I disturbed them. The sky was filled with cumulus clouds and early morning birds searching, as they do every day, for food.  The first flowers of summer, except for the lantanas, have lost their intensity but the late bloomers are so bountiful and beautiful. (I included a few shots of them).

Soon, the Satsumas will turn yellow and then, by Halloween, orange. My bees have done a great job this year pollinating. It is quiet,  because it is Saturday morning, people are still in their houses, many still asleep and the cars are not zooming down the road rushing to jobs they possibly dread, this is where it’s happening, this is the place to be, outside on an early Saturday morning. I am enveloped by the beauty that is given to us each day, beauty we so frequently chop down to “develop”, beauty we extinguish for profit, beauty we miss in our haste. Oh my, such negativity…sorry, but it comes from reality, I cannot help but see it and I don’t understand it.

oranges

I am still cutting okra and I will continue as long as I motivate myself to do so – it will continue to produce until the first frost. I remind myself how wonderful it will be in a gumbo this winter so I cut and freeze. Okra is so easy to grow and so delicious to have. As I posted last time, there are only a few Kieffer Pears left on the trees and I am not ambitious enough to do anything with them except include them in breakfast smoothies…perhaps one more cobbler could be on the docket.

 

 

 

That’s it, just a few words attached to visuals to , maybe, prompt you to take a glimpse of the early morning and notice what mother earth has been doing as you “sleep”.

twins

twins

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these days

okraThe Sun is out today drying up the rains, at least in some areas.  I trimmed my okra stalks, discarded the hard pods and keep the tender ones to smother with chicken and serve over rice this winter. It felt  like the Ethiopian sun out there, their place of origin. Somehow, however,when I just went with it, the sun, the heat, the sweat dripping on my forehead it all felt surprisingly wonderful… one with Nature, this force that has controlled South Louisiana for a bit over a week now.

The seemingly one last thing on earth we cannot regulate is the force of Nature. We can learn to coexist with it, sorta, but we do not have possession of the rule book, it dictates all, no matter how smart we are or how prepared we try to be, it has the final word. I love and hate that.

I love the power of our planet and the natural world and all of its mystery and wonder but, at times like this, we feel its wrath and we are, in many ways, helpless. These times, times when we are battling a common force, do unite us and for a while, we notice that we are all one and recognize, once again, that we all need one another…the power of Nature.

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it’s all okay…

iphone 574I read some of the Mother’s Day post yesterday on FB and found it nice that people could express publicly their love and devotion for their mothers. I also couldn’t help but think about the people who felt loss or void on this day. This “holiday” leaves me feeling ambivalent.

Either way, it “is what it is” as they say. My day was wonderful and for that I am grateful.

iphone 572Back to ordinary things…my bees. I have just added the second super and from the look of things my queen bee is very busy laying eggs – thousands of bees have taken residency in Elizabeth’s butterfly garden. My hens are laying and I am picking 2 quarts of blackberries each day – those early spring rains were good for something. All of the above spell some sort of happiness for me, simple and totally procured by nature. I have been stung twice so far, hurts but it’s okay. It’s worth it to be able to look inside of their secret world where everything, however random it appears, is governed by a natural force that gives much purpose to these little creatures.

I am still busy planting my pantry, a place to go for food that I know is clean. A disturbing thought crossed my mind yesterday however, a hurricane could run through my orchard and destroy all of this effort and years of growth. Fruit trees are shallow rooted and so easy to topple (hmmm, this statement could apply to many things). It would be a tough situation for me…but risk is something I choose to take. Anyway, whatever season it is, is my favorite and this spring is not disappointing.IMG_0652

A good friend of mine gave me a small gift long ago when I was actively raising my five children. I was busy like those bees but instead of seemingly random behavior it actually was random – constant movement going in all directions, reacting to life reacting to the moment – somewhat out of control. Anyway, she became a mother a bit ahead of me and knew firsthand what was happening inside my house and inside of myself. One random day, she thoughtfully brought this little refrigerator magnet to me that said “children and gardens need tending each day”. It turned the page for me…that simple thought put my commotion under the heading of normal and told me there were many mothers and others out there that, some days, they seemed to be like gerbils on a treadmill, getting to completion only some of the time but, it was ok. Just tend to your children and your “garden” each day and one day you will look at both and smile…a belated Happy Mothers and Others Day to mothers and “gardeners” who have arrived at this point of realization and feel contentment from their huge and sometimes unnoticed efforts. It all starts to make sense…somehow.bee keepera

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looking back and staying home

 What follows  is an old entry I found way back in my old blog – sketches of my day. I love that I continue to be on this “page”. It tells me I am solid with my commitment to try to live under a veil of simplicity, hovering right above the earth. It makes me happy to have this tangible example of that continuity. I hope you can connect…

“Rolling out of bed on Monday morning is difficult, especially after a week end of beautiful weather. Except for a short trip each year to a place far away, I think I could be happy just staying here each day. I have spent years setting up “centers” for myself around here – fruit trees, the woods, a place to paint, a quiet spot to write, my garden, the chickens, the small burning pile near the woods, the keeping room at sundown when the light filters through the blinds and a fresh cup of coffee to sip will I watch, and my kitchen. I spent a bit too much time in the kitchen this past Saturday – I have to stop looking at recipe books during the week. I made 8 loaves of persimmon, carrot, sweet potato, and pumpkin bread, spinach lasagna, vegetable soup, and Texas brownies with made from scratch icing. I went crazy in there escaping to the outdoors to plant sweetpeas (the flower), turnip and carrot seeds, and broccoli plants while things baked and simmered. Anyway, I could handle more of this; I may just understand why Emily Dickinson never left home for 26 years.”

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 and just a mention…32 years ago I was so happy to welcome William into my world – the best gift of all – a child.

 

be(e) there

landI took a picture of this small plot of earth to remind me to go there, to amend this place with compost and leaves from the autumn trees and maybe, if I am diligent with my work, I will eat from here – turnips and cruciferous vegetables and carrots and beets. This winter I will make soups from what will grow here and in the spring I will till it again and plant…again. This cycle is the cycle I want to be a real part of, I want my garden to feed me and make me work until I am tired and cause the sunshine to enter my body and help me to stay healthy – this is what this small piece of land can do – if I let it, if I go there.

 

I am writing this to encourage myself to make this commitment. The garden is not very big – it is something I can do, me and my little rear tine tiller. The Deep South is a wonderful place to grow food and, unfortunately, bugs – they will discourage me, I am certain. I will again research natural sprays on the internet and possibly thumb through old gardening books that sit on my kitchen shelf and try to find a way to co-exist with these creatures from the earth. It can be discouraging. I hope to find my way with this garden for I have had many trials in the past – this one is special. First, it is smaller and that, in itself, gives me confidence. Also, I am more and more committed to providing myself with my own food – the entire process is positive and it is something I can do, me and the bees. The bees will be another entry – I am learning about beekeeping and hope to journal, here, about the journey. Anyway, I will keep you posted on this effort, this challenge I have put on my plate. This is a place I need to be.

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Return to Pooh Corner

kaleIt’s the first day of summer vacation for me, release…I celebrated with a trip to the farmers market and drove home in search of yard sales. Our small market is unlike the Central Market in Florence but simple and quaint and the farmers are there to answer questions.

I am soon to be cloaked in summer. This morning, before the market, I ate the first methley plum from one of my plum trees, picked blackberries, visited the bees and saw how many figs were on my oldest tree – they will be ready around the 4th of July! My yard is a pantry and that makes me so happy. I will hang out laundry in just a little while, cut a watermelon and go to the nursery for another methyl plum tree. This afternoon I will come inside from the heat only to go out again at nearly sunset to water and watch the sun go down and the moon come up…I love this time of year and I love Mother Earth ! How ’bout you plant something today?DSC_0641

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looking within

The first day of winter is cold here, I am glad. Yesterday morning was not so good for me – there was an issue about too much money and the company we use for our charge card business. The details are not worth typing but the vulnerable and helpless feeling that eventually caused anger was something that barreled into my quiet morning and set the tone for my day – some high tech contemporary garbage that intrudes into our lives and we have to find resolve with some automated robo system- you know what I’m saying!  

At some point, I just wanted to drop out of this 21st century hocus pocus, virtual, click click, digital, plastic world – I wanted to isolate myself from this insanity. I thought of ways to retreat – liquidate, find a simple house in a simple town and detach. All of this happened the morning after I had been to Lafayette to buy a few paints and a brush – I became witness to and part of the Christmas shopping mania in a big city/town. I really could not absorb how much stuff is out there for us to buy – I don’t have the mental capacity for that amount of volume – anyway, thus began the perfect storm – let me out of this century!!

 
Well, I’m still here…and today is much better. I have my new paints, the weather is Christmassy, my house smells like evergreen and I’m in Loreauville where there is no mall or big box stores – only my chickens and my patch of earth that I have lived on for nearly 28 years. I think the point of all this rambling (and venting) is that we all go through these little dust storms but then it gets better, the dust settles. But during this storm I was forced to reevaluate some things and I reached a higher level – and that’s what is supposed to happen. Is that what we call wisdom?

Today begins the winter solace the full cold Moon will be out on the 28th – hopefully in a clear cold winter sky. I find so much opportunity for reflection and renewal in the middle of winter as I watch how Nature sheds her luster and her protection so nobly – how she is brought to her bare bones and survives it, she gets through it only to reintroduce herself in spring. She does this each year. I suppose this is some kind of cleansing, purging that is necessary to grow and, because of my beliefs, I feel it is something I should follow – unlike man’s decrees; Nature’s laws are consistent and non-discriminate. So, I begin this winter with that in mind – the season to purge – both my thoughts and my things and in spring I hope I have looked within and am ready for the awakening of another opportunity to bloom.

I don’t know that I will write again before Christmas so I wish you pure and pronounced moments during this holiday season that will become soothing memories in the years to come – moments that find you outside looking at the Christmas sky, moments that include hugs and warm smiles and moments that find you alone in a cozy chair stopping to think about yourself and what is really important while welcoming this starkness that is winter. For it is this nakedness, that allows us to find some answers exposed there against the bareness and beauty that is Nature.
Happy Christmas.
Walden

 

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